Women-only Programs The Positives

Women-only Programs The Positives

Women-only programs the positives

Women's reactions to women-only courses vary enormously. For many women who have not previously attended any women-only courses they seem like a good idea, as many feel that the atmosphere might be more conducive to honesty and sharing which would provide a welcome antidote to the male-dominated environments in which they work.

Those who have benefited from women-only courses tend to have had similar experiences:

'I always enjoy women-only events because I find that such groups usually reach a high level of openness and trust very quickly and this facilitates useful debate and the opportunity to really concentrate on issues which are usually common to all. I never experience the same level of openness in a mixed group although being in the minority is the norm for me in the workplace. I have concluded over the years that our outlook tends to be very different from men's and that, too often, there are forces' within the organization trying to push me into the male model. These are subtle and effective, but my instincts are that the feminine' balance is more important now than ever.'

The networking aspect of women-only programs is consistently seen as an advantage, especially at a higher level where women work in separate areas of an organization, or with a different industry, because of the smaller numbers of women in management generally.

On the other hand, women who could see the pros and cons of both mixed and women-only courses summed up with the following:

'I'm torn, honestly. I want to be treated as an individual, not just as a woman, so in theory I favour mixed courses. However, if a group is not evenly mixed and men predominate, I find it hard to learn. So, if I can't have my first preference of really mixed groups, I favour women-only. (The bonus is that women do genuinely seem more creative)'

'I am ambivalent. On the one hand, I feel that as I do not manage in a women-only environment, then it is not helpful to train in one However, I recognize that, on the other hand, it may be useful for confidence building and that it can be easier to be open with, and relate to, other women and their experiences.'.

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